Lawyer for N.M. woman who lived in home where classified material was found says she's not a spy

Tuesday, October 31st 2006, 11:07 pm
By: News On 6

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) _ The woman who lived in a home where classified material from Los Alamos National Laboratory was seized by authorities wasn't a spy _ she was just trying to do her job for the lab, her lawyer said Tuesday.

The FBI began investigating a security breach at the nuclear weapons laboratory after police seized three portable computer storage drives during a drug bust at Jessica Quintana's home on Oct. 17.

Her attorney, Stephen Aarons, said Quintana formerly worked in a secure area called a vault at the lab, scanning hard copies of documents into an electronic format and then indexing them so they could be searched by title or author.

``It's not espionage. It's a 22-year-old ... that mishandled documents, and it doesn't appear that third parties got hold of them,'' Aarons said.

``Her only intent was to work with these documents herself, and to get them indexed in a timely fashion. ... She was working with these documents and she shouldn't have left the facility with them, but apparently she did.''

Lab Director Michael Anastasio confirmed last week that classified information was seized from the home, but he didn't provide any details. Lab officials aren't discussing the investigation.

Quintana had worked for a lab subcontractor until she was laid off recently. She was working for a child care program at the YMCA when the flash drives were taken by authorities, but was fired from that job.

Authorities searched the home and arrested a man who was renting a room there on drug and probation violation charges. Quintana, who was not at home at the time, has not been charged.

Stone said that one of the USB flash drives was his, and that he had traded it for methamphetamine. He said the FBI told him it contained pornography. He has denied any knowledge of lab documents.

Aarons said that Quintana knows enough to be able to index the documents, but that she did not necessarily understand their significance. He also said that although the documents were classified, he did not believe they fell into the category of ``top secret.''

``It's our belief that she did not handle, and therefore mishandle, any top secret documents,'' he said.